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October 16, 2013

Ian Miller

Okaro White


JEFF FISCHEL:  It is time to talk Florida State.
Guys, NIT run last year.  What is the feeling heading into this season?  What are the goals?  What do you expect of yourselves this season?
IAN MILLER:  Quite disappointed in the season we had last year.  We had some injuries, had some young guys that really didn't understand the system.
But I think we're back to that dog mentality.  I think we've worked hard and achieved our goals this summer.  We broke down the summer.  You can't just make a jump like that without having a productive summer.  I think we had one of the best summers since I've been at FSU.
Losing and going to the NIT, I think it helped us.  It helped us to mature.  Helped our younger guys to grow up faster than they usually would if you're winning because they understand how hard it is, what it's going to take to get back to hold up that ring, win a ring.  It's good for us.
JEFF FISCHEL:  ACC championship one year, last year the NIT.  The off‑season, a lot of focus and dedication?
OKARO WHITE:  Definitely a lot of focus in the off‑season.  I think we're getting back to our defensive aggressiveness, how we've been in the past.  The trip we took to Greece, I think all of us kind of grew as brothers and as a team.  I think we've grown up as an overall team.
I think our summer will set us up for a path of success this year.
JEFF FISCHEL:  You talked about increasing the defensive pressure.  Leonard Hamilton, all about defense.  What did he see last year, what has he been talking to you this year about playing defense?
IAN MILLER:  Coach Ham is one of the most understanding coaches you can have in college basketball.  He puts pressure on you to succeed, but he doesn't overdo it because he knows it's a process.  He understands building a tradition at FSU, but he understands he has seven freshmen that didn't grasp how hard it was, what it was going to take.
Now that they understand it, it's a cut‑throat circuit, cut‑throat system.  He pushes us.  He's going to get that maximum energy from you every day.  We're going to get back to that top five in the country like we're used to being every year that gives us a chance to win the games at the end of the game.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Okaro, have you seen more defensive aggressiveness from the team?
OKARO WHITE:  Yeah.  Coach Ham isn't giving anybody any slack this year.  That's great because we're growing as a team and we have to understand Coach Ham has been doing this for multiple years, and Stan Jones also.  We're all paying attention to them.
If we get back to defense, we'll be all right.  In the past, when we had these great teams, there have been a lot of nights our offense didn't look good at all, but our defense is what kept us in the game, kept the games close.  If we get back to our defensive ways, the ways we used to be, I think we'll be pretty good.
JEFF FISCHEL:  The big piece of the puzzle you lose from last year is Michael Snaer.  Ian, who takes the game‑winning shot now for Florida State?
IAN MILLER:  To be honest, of course I want to take those shots.  I'm so confident in my teammates to where if I create an open shot, anybody's going to knock it down.  It started with me working out at 5:30, the next person was coming in at 7:00, the next morning at 8:00.  You see those guys getting repetition after repetition.
When you drive yourself to make those shots, it's great because then you have that confidence.  Once you have that confidence, you're going to knock it down every time.
It really doesn't matter who takes the shot at the end of the day.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Okaro, you're the team's leading scorer returning.  Big expectations of yourself this season?
OKARO WHITE:  I definitely have big expectations.  At least 99% of every college player's dream is to make it to the big league.  But I understand my team's goals come before my individual goals.  For me to get to my individual goals, our team has to have success first.  That's what matters first and foremost.
JEFF FISCHEL:  What has Coach Hamilton said about the fact you have four returning starters?  I assume he thinks you now have the experience to be ready to battle against the ACC.
IAN MILLER:  Like I said before, he's not letting us slack up.  He's keeping our energy high.  He's letting it be known that he's not going to accept anything but your best.
Everybody understands that and every day in practice we're pushing each other to hold each other accountable, to keep that drive, to have a great summer, to keep having a good pre‑season like we're having, put ourselves in great position to be where we want to be at the end of the year.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Okaro, when Coach Ham relaxes, what is he like?
OKARO WHITE:  He's actually a fun guy when he's relaxed.  A lot of people see him on TV, don't really know him.  They see what they call the 'death stare' that he has on his face.  They think he's a mean guy.
He's actually a pretty fun guy, caring guy.  He puts his players first, which I love about him.  He's just a great guy in general.  He challenges us to be the best we can be.  He wants to see all of his players be successful.
JEFF FISCHEL:  You get the death stare once in a while?
IAN MILLER:  Oh, yeah, if I come down and take a crazy shot.  I might give it back to him.  No, I'm kidding (laughter).
He's a caring guy, like Okaro says.  It's up to us whether we're going to be successful or not.  He can only just give us the path.  We have to drive the car down the road.  We're going to do those things we need to do.
JEFF FISCHEL:  When you get him away from the court, he's talking about music.
IAN MILLER:  He is always trying to sing.  He can't sing.  Okaro, you know this song?  Ian, you know this song?  No, that was back in the civil rights movement.  We wasn't alive.
You know Coach Ham, he's an easygoing guy.  Like Okaro says, he puts his players first.  It's up to us to give it all back.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Okaro, he's not listening to the same music you are?
OKARO WHITE:  Not at all.  He has his Al Green, Patti Labelle, Elvis going.  He's an old school guy.  When we was in Greece, we sat down and talked.  He kind of told me why he keeps the collection of music he has.  Nowadays, these singers, they get in the studio, they got so many different electronic instruments to enhance their voice.  Back in the day, you have those pure singers.  They get in the studio and record, they have a live band in there.  He appreciates that.
JEFF FISCHEL:  He's told me all about the man cave.
You talked about the trip to Greece.  What was your favorite part of going to Greece?
OKARO WHITE:  Definitely the food.  The food was amazing, especially when we first got there, trying out the new food.  The last couple days we got a little homesick.  We found a burger spot right across the street from the hotel.  We went there for about four or five days straight.
The experience of playing with the national Greek team, we took a lot of punches when we first started playing them, but they helped us and we got better playing against them.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Your favorite memory, Ian?
IAN MILLER:  Had to be seeing all the historic monuments and stuff like that.  Was breathtaking.  To be able to go to the ocean and stuff like that, see the different things, man, it was amazing and breathtaking.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Good luck this season, guys.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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